Dispensations

Daily Post: Portion

At age 14, most kids are are graduating from one era of childhood to another, by leaving the Jr. High, or Middle School dispensation, and moving on up to where they are low rung on the ladder in High School.  It is a difficult and stressful time, but it is also a completely normal process, those who have gone before have survived easily.  No so for Carson Huey-You.  In May this year, this 14-year-old graduated form Texas Christian university with a physics degree.  And oh, by the way, Carson’s brother is enrolled as a freshman (age 11) at the university as well.  This is not a normal dispensation.  Certainly the minds of some of these brilliant kids works differently than other “normal” children.  But I have to believe their social life is also very different from others when it comes to forming relationships and bonding with their peers.  They have none.

Dispensation is the act of distributing or supplying portions of something.  A simple example might be that God in His wisdom, doled out a portion of average intelligence to most 14-year-old kids, but Carson and his brother received a special dispensation.  In some ways I would have liked to have had this dispensation.  I would have liked to be a better student, learn quicker, become wiser and act wiser.  But hey, I’m still here and wouldn’t change some of my normal “experiences” for all the money in the world.

We talk often about God’s plan for human life, or more specifically that He has a plan for your life, personally.  Yet it’s hard sometimes to understand where all this is going.  How does my one measly little life make a difference in the real world, and God’s master plan?  To answer these kinds of questions requires a larger view.  One for which I often get criticized, but there you go, not all of us agree on everything all the time, right?  In order to see where you and I fit in, I go back to the big picture which some have called “Dispensationalism.”

Simply put, this view sees the history of man through “ages” or “eras” where God revealed certain parts of the overall plan for human history.  The ages are in order, portioned out over time, and include:  innocence, conscience, government, promise, law, grace, tribulation, millennial kingdom, and eternity. [see image below]

 

dispensations

In this way, everything from innocence to law points to Jesus Christ on the cross.  Until Christ returns to earth at the end of the tribulation, everything points back to the cross.  The whole history of mankind is about revealing Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  The ancients had to discover over time through these different eras, that God was sovereign and in control of all things.  Then, at just the right time, Christ dies for all of us.  We now live in a time some have called the “church” age (grace), and some also believe it is a time that is rapidly coming to a close.  How could they know this?  In this image there are no time stamps indicating how long or how short each of these periods is supposed to be.  That coupled with the fact that God has more patience than any human can understand, lends to the understanding you can’t box God into time frames.  And that’s not even the real question is it?  The question is, “where am I on this timeline, and what should I be doing?”

We live in the age of GRACE.  “Unmerited favor” is a term often used for trying to grasp the importance of the idea.  We do not deserve God’s love, yet He loves us still, and wants us to live in, and experience His grace, every single day.  He wants us to live in such a way that during this age of grace, we bring glory to His name every day we are alive.  In this way, He can use us to bring others to saving faith for the very first time in their lives.  There are three more dispensations to come:  tribulation, millennial kingdom, and eternity.  God isn’t slow, but He doesn’t rush ahead either.  In His perfect timing one age will end, and the next will begin.

Today I would ask that you “stay in the frame” as Len likes to saying on Dancing with the Stars.  Stay focused on who you are in Christ, and where you are today.  Determine to make a difference in someone’s life today.  Offer them a portion grace; the same grace that God offered you.  Dispense grace.

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you.

 

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